“It’s exploding with young people and tattoos,” a woman tells the Wall Street Journal today about the Upper East Side.”These hipsters were moving in — you could tell they were hipsters because I used to be one too, so they stand out — and they were moving a mounted moose head into their apartment.” Manhattan, she says, “has the charm that you would want in Brooklyn that is quickly disappearing.” Oh, Lord. The larger point she’s speaking to, supposedly, is that rents in Brooklyn (by which the Journal mostly means Williamsburg) are now high enough to drive young people back to Manhattan. It’s a renaissance or something! We’ve heard this one before.
Whole Foods Market Inc. faces a series of City Council votes starting next week to win final approval for construction of a 52,000-square-foot supermarket next to a 140-year-old landmark in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
The new store is planned to wrap around two sides of the vacant Coignet building, the city’s earliest known concrete building, at the corner of Third Avenue and Third Street. After expected council approvals, the grocery chain would be allowed within five feet of the old building and wants to have its first Brooklyn store open in 2013.
Built in 1872 for the New York & Long Island Coignet Stone Co., the 2½-story building is the sole survivor of a five-acre industrial park built along the Gowanus Canal in the early 1870s.
The elegant Italianite mansion provided office space for Coignet and subsequent companies, including its longest-running tenant, the Brooklyn Improvement Co., from which Coignet leased the land for its stone works.
“It’s a lonely little building,” said Jennifer Gardner, a researcher at the Gowanus Institute, a local think tank. “To some degree, the plans for that site will limit the opportunity for the [Coignet] building, but also provides a potential draw for people to see it and appreciate it in a different way.”
The building received city landmark status in 2006. Two City Council panels overseeing landmarks and planning will vote next week on whether to reduce the Coignet building’s lot size to about 1,720 square feet from 6,250 square feet, a measure that’s already been passed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. If approved, a full City Council vote on the measure is slated for April 18.
EPA designation might help real estate values, brokers say March 31, 2010
By C. J. Hughes
Last month, Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal became one of the most polluted places in the country, at least in the eyes of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which named it to the infamous “Superfund” cleanup list.
While that environmental scarlet letter may not make for the most compelling marketing gimmick — New York’s Love Canal, whose toxicity led to the creation of the Superfund in 1980, is hardly prime real estate today — Gowanus probably won’t see its property values dip, according to many brokers, landlords and developers.
There are a couple of reasons for that counterintuitive assessment. For one, the neighborhood around the canal, a narrow 1.8-mile, tilde-shaped waterway, includes bits of established neighborhoods like Park Slope and Carroll Gardens.
What’s more, mopping up the mess from oil refineries, tanneries and raw sewage, which have contaminated the Gowanus since it was dug in the 1860s, will likely mean better things to come.